About Mink Pond

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By Mink Pond Martha

The oldest and biggest bass in the lake

     Greetings! Let me introduce my self. My name is Mink Pond Martha and I happen to be the oldest, wisest, and therefore largest bass in the Pond. I was introduced into the lake in 1897 and since then I have seen and heard many things which I would like to share with you. I will begin this column by telling you about the beginning: Billy, farming, lumbering, and what came next.

     Billy Mink was born on June 3, 1871, on a farm owned by his parents, Margaret and Frederick Mink. Farming in Bushkill was, as you can imagine, very difficult and the Mink family had an even harder time due to periodic disappearances of Fred. Billy, at an early age, had to work to help support his mother and two sisters. In 1892, the original family cabin burned down and Billy and his brother-in-law Andrew Haeffing, replaced it with a new house that now had a cellar, the beginning of the house you can see today. Billy and Andrew cut and fitted nearly all the timber used in the house. Billy saw a better way to support the family, so he began lumbering and he ran a water-powered sawmill on the stream that ran close to the house. It may have been about this time that old Baldy got its name. In 1896 he and Andrew built a dam and a new sawmill downstream from the house. Margaret was not in favor of the dam or the small lake it created so she arranged to have it blown up. How she accomplished this, I do not know because I had not yet been introduced to the lake. Fortunately for all of us, this only inspired Billy to build a bigger, stronger, and higher dam, creating an even larger lake. History does not record what Margaret thought of this, but the dam stayed and Baldy became balder.

     Some time after this, Billy learned of a new lucrative business ideally suited for his property and his temperament. Paying customers from as far away as New York City and Philadelphia were interested in fishing in the Poconos; they were willing to pay handsomely for the privilege of catching, of all things, stupid pickerel. For $2 a day, they could fish, boat, eat, and spend the night. Now I do not think highly of fishing, but any one who wants to rid the world of pickerel is OK with me. Billy borrowed $500 to build a still bigger and stronger dam. To stock the lake, he loaded large barrels on his wagon and drove to Pickerel Lake, about 4 miles away. This lake can still be found on maps. He purchased live pickerel at $1 per barrel and took them back to stock his new pond. This is how I ended up in Billy's Pond. I was spawned at Pickerel Lake and accidentally netted and scooped out of the water with all those horrible pickerel. We were dumped into the barrels and jolted over seven miles of dirt road to my new home. Fortunately, both the pickerel and I became wagon sick and those pickerel for the first (and only) time in their lives lost their appetites. Once we were settled in our new home, Billy began to advertise. He sent out brochures for Mink's Pickerel Pond and a new business was founded. In short order it became Mink's Famous Pickerel Lake. What happened next is a tale which I will leave for next time...

A Special Thanks to Vicki Hartung for this great story.